Monday Evening Book Club April Selection

EducatedThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, April 8 in the 2nd floor Training Room to discuss the memoir Educated by Tara Westover.

About the book…

Tara Westover was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. Instead of traditional lessons, she grew up learning how to stew herbs into medicine, scavenging in the family scrap yard and helping her family prepare for the apocalypse. She had no birth certificate and no medical records and had never been enrolled in school.

Westover’s mother proved a marvel at concocting folk remedies for many ailments. As Tara developed her own coping mechanisms, little by little, she started to realize that what her family was offering didn’t have to be her only education. Her first day of university was her first day in school—ever—and she would eventually win an esteemed fellowship from Cambridge and graduate with a PhD in intellectual history and political thought.

Author website

Discussion Questions

Video Interviews

CBC’s The Current interview (audio)

A Book Review by Bill Gates

A New York Times Book Review

A Guardian Book Review

Ruby Ridge siege (an event that radicalized Tara’s father)

Monday Evening Book Club March Selection

All things consoled

The Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, March 11 in the 2nd floor Training Room to discuss the memoir All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir by Elizabeth Hay.

About the book…

Jean and Gordon Hay were a colourful, formidable pair. Jean, a late-blooming artist with a marvellous sense of humour, was superlatively frugal; nothing got wasted, not even maggoty soup. Gordon was a proud and ambitious schoolteacher with a terrifying temper, a deep streak of melancholy, and a devotion to flowers, cars, words, and his wife. As old age collides with the tragedy of living too long, these once ferociously independent parents become increasingly dependent on Lizzie, the so-called difficult child. By looking after them in their final decline, she hopes to prove that she can be a good daughter after all.
In this courageous memoir, written with tough-minded candour, tenderness, and wit, Elizabeth Hay lays bare the exquisite agony of a family’s dynamics–entrenched favouritism, sibling rivalries, grievances that last for decades, genuine admiration, and enduring love. In the end, she reaches a more complete understanding of the most
unforgettable characters she will ever know, the vivid giants in her life who were her parents.

About Elizabeth Hay (by the author)

An interview with Elizabeth Hay: The guilt and anguish of looking after elderly parents (Macleans)

Elizabeth Hay on back-seat inspiration and Jane Austen’s ghost (CBC)

Review in Quill and Quire

Review: Elizabeth Hay presents a powerful memoir of her parents final years (Artsfile)

Review: Elizabeth Hay brings family drama to life

Elizabeth Hay talks to Shelagh Rogers about All Things Consoled (CBC)

Fiction about complicated families to help you navigate holiday dysfunction (CBC)

 

Monday Evening Book Club February Selection

Born a crimeThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, February 11 in the 2nd floor Training Room to discuss the memoir Born a Crime : stories from a South African childhood by Trevor Noah.

About the book…

One of the comedy world’s fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming of age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives. Trevor Noah is the host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where he gleefully provides America with its nightly dose of serrated satire. He is a light-footed but cutting observer of the relentless absurdities of politics, nationalism and race–and in particular the craziness of his own young life, which he’s lived at the intersections of culture and history. In his first book, Noah tells his coming of age story with his larger-than-life mother during the last gasps of apartheid-era South Africa and the turbulent years that followed. Noah was born illegal–the son of a white, Dutch father and a black Xhosa mother, who had to pretend to be his nanny or his father’s servant in the brief moments when the family came together. His brilliantly eccentric mother loomed over his life–a comically zealous Christian (they went to church six days a week and three times on Sunday), a savvy hustler who kept food on their table during rough times, and an aggressively involved, if often seriously misguided, parent who set Noah on his bumpy path to stardom. The stories Noah tells are sometimes dark, occasionally bizarre, frequently tender, and always hilarious–whether he’s subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty or making comically pitiful attempts at teenage romance in a color-obsessed world; whether’s he’s being thrown into jail as the hapless fall guy for a crime he didn’t commit or being thrown by his mother from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters.

Trevor Noah’s website

NPR interview highlights

Interviews on Youtube

A “Guardian Live” interview

“The View” interview

Discussion questions

A Huffington Post book review

A Guardian review

Map of South Africa

History of Apartheid

 

Monday Evening Book Club January Selection

Lillian Boxfish takes a walkThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday January 14 in the 2nd floor Training Room to discuss the novel  Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney.

About the book…

It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.

As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. (Author’s website)

Meet Chicago’s modern-day flaneuse: an interview with Kathleen Rooney

Interview with author Kathleen Rooney

Kathleen Rooney describes the process of writing Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

The real Lillian Boxfish: Margaret Fishback 

New York City in the 1980’s 

In praise of walking (and witty women) 

Chicago Tribune review

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club November Selection

Boat peopleThe Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, November 12 in the second floor Training Room to discuss The Boat People, a novel by Sharon Bala.

About the book …

The Boat People is an extraordinary novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage only to face the threat of deportation amid accusations of terrorism. When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war reaches Vancouver’s shores, the young father thinks he and his six-year-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the “boat people” are members of a separatist militant organization responsible for countless suicide attacks–and that these terrorists now pose a threat to Canada’s national security. As the refugees become subject to heavy interrogation, Mahindan begins to fear that a desperate act taken in Sri Lanka to fund their escape may now jeopardize his and his son’s chance for asylum. Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer, Priya, a second-generation Sri Lankan Canadian who reluctantly represents the refugees; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan’s fate as evidence mounts against him, The Boat People is a spellbinding and timely novel that provokes a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis”–Provided by publisher.

Author website

Sharon Bala and Canada Reads 2018

An Interview with Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala on YouTube

Discussion Questions

Book review in The Tyee

Kirkus book review

MV Sun Sea incident (2010)

The Guardian article (2010)

The Tyee Opinion article (2010)

National Post article (2017) 

Ocean Lady Incident article

MV Sun Sea on YouTube

Komagata Maru indident (1914)

Komagata Maru on YouTube